Continuing the discussion from Many Worlds Interpretations:
It is actually not possible for me to lose it. I could no more be spiritually unborn again than I can become biologically unborn. ‘Deconversion’ is a misnomer – God does not unmake new creations.
God can do all kinds of things. Some believe he’s going to unmake his original creation of Earth by destroying it by fire someday. I know there are a variety of views on this topic and it may not be worthwhile to go round in circles about it, but if you hold to the view that deconversion is impossible, then from what I can see, you would also have to agree that both of the following things happen regularly:
- Some Christians turn away from God (and sometimes outright denounce him) for long periods of their lives and may not obviously return to him in a way others can see during their lifetime, or
- Some apparently “false converts” go for years and even decades showing devoted faith and fruitful ministries, which can make it hard to have confidence in our own faith or anyone else’s if it can be supposedly faked so easily and so successfully for so long.
Can I ever not be my Father’s child?
No, but children can disavow their parents. I guess that means you lean toward scenario #1 above.
Do you mean your first bullet? I suppose that’s a possibility, but like several places in the epistles, if my outward life did not show it, I would have no reason to trust that my heart was not a stone. And that’s part of my point, that once a heart of stone has been miraculously given life and been birthed anew, to mix a couple of scriptural metaphors, it is irreversible.
So now that you are a new creation in Christ, you are entitled to heaven and have indulgences for any sin you commit from now on?
I am my Father’s child and I want to obey his laws of love to continue to enjoy his smile. We are not talking about Sunday morning church compensating for Saturday night’s sinning. If I sin and it does not grieve me and know that it grieves him too, then I have real reason to doubt my adoption.
Can my actions undo his adoption of me? That would mean it was conditional and not very strong, or that he was not a very capable Shepherd. The last in the list linked in the OP:
…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents…" Luke 15:7. Temporary and erasable joy in heaven?!
No, you can’t undo something God does. But I don’t believe God treats us like automatons either. He guides us, but gives us choices. The exact nature of how those two positions interact in every case is above my pay grade.
Good morning Dale. It seems to me that you’ve taken an unnecessarily dogmatic position on this. Do you really believe that someone once saved could not renounce their faith later? I would imagine that most would not, but that some do. That would not depreciate the “joy in heaven” at one being saved any more than animal death does a “very good creation” in my mind. Is it possible that you are taking a once-saved-always-saved approach one step too far by precluding a future choice of turning one’s back on our faith? I agree with you that one who tastes the freedom of salvation will typically not walk away from it, but–given free will–one should be able to choose to do so it seems.
“You have to believe in free will, you have no choice.” I.B. Singer
Yes, I do, and election is what scripture teaches, right next to personal responsibility. How it works is a paradox, an unknowable exactly parallel to how God works dynamically in his providence in and positive answers to prayer.*
Perseverance is a gift, a birthday present given when someone becomes becomes born again.
Here is a Spurgeon reading I like on the subject;
*I think you have seen this before over at PeacefulScience, a sweet example of God’s providence – one among scores of his sovereign, immanent, personal and interventionist activities into my life, incomprehensible and unexplainable:
I guess then that one is left to decide if he who leaves the church is still saved or never was. If you are correct, then it is paradoxical and paradoxes make conversations difficult. I do respect your ability (and efforts) to stay within the boundaries of your beliefs despite the logical difficulties of the subject matter. I admit that I tend more toward bending my belief to fit the logic. Bend, but hopefully, not break. Great day to you, my friend.
You can’t read Romans 8:28 without reading Romans 8:29 (many ignore the latter):
So we can recognize there is a tension there, at least. However, what you call a paradox between an unconditional election and personal responsibility, I see as an outright contradiction. I could be missing some finer points of the argument or of the terminology, but at the moment, I don’t see how these two ideas can sit next to each other.
They do sit right next to each other, though. It has something to do with God’s relationship to time – I call myself a ‘God is atemporal or God is omnitemporal Calvinist.’ The only verbs we have to work with are tensed: foreordained, chosen, elected, planned, etc., and they are all in the past tense and do not really apply to God, because he is the always Present tense, the eternal Now and the forever I AM, as Jesus said.
It is beyond our ken – we shouldn’t expect to be able to get our heads around God and fit him into our box, but we can delight in the mystery, as I do as my Request and Articulate Reply account, above.
Well… I cannot find obvious fault in your answer to my question. But… even if you avoid error in your understanding of the dogma you are pushing, I think most people will and that is the flaw I see in this teaching of yours that it will (and does) effectively become entitlement and indulgences which is very very far from what Christianity is really about.
I reject all 5 of the TULIP Calvinist dogmas and frankly the last is in some ways the worst of the lot, for the very question it seeks to answer is the opposite of faith. Paul explains in Romans 10 that faith doesn’t ask such questions. Asking if you can lose your salvation is just like the rich man in Matthew 19 asking what is enough. Jesus answer is that there is no enough because “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Thus Jesus never says that salvation does not require anything from us but only that we can never think that any such things are sufficient. An attitude of entitlement is unacceptable and there are no indulgences for sin. For God “will render to every man according to his works.” (Rom 2:6)
I agree with the latter part of that, but you certainly need to elaborate how you conclude that what I’m saying is anything like it. I certainly don’t see how you are inferring anything about entitlement.
Implicit in and integral to the ‘works’ is the heart and motivation behind them, explicitly stated elsewhere.